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History, memory and myth in Greece

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The local festival dedicated to the Anniversary of the Vision of Agia (saint) or Osia (venerable, blessed saint) Pelagia is celebrated on the Greek island of Tinos, and is dedicated to one of the most recent Orthodox saints, Agia Pelagia, a nun who was sanctified in 1970. After the Greek War of Independence (1821) broke out, the pious nun Pelagia had several mystical visions that led to the finding of the miraculous icon of the Annunciation. According to the tradition, Pelagia repeatedly saw, in her visions, the Panagia (Virgin Mary), who ordered her to start digging to find her icon. In 1823, the icon was unearthed in the field where it had remained for about 850 years. 'Pelagia's Vision' is celebrated annually on 23 July. During the festival the church housing her skull next to her cell in the monastery of Kekhrovouno, where she had the visions, is particularly important. Based on a presentation of this festival and other relevant rituals from Greece where I have conducted fieldwork, this article will explore aspects of history, memory and myth and the ways in which the past is represented in the Greek context.

Keywords: Greece; history; legends; memory; myth; religious festivals

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

Publication date: 2012-07-12

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